Motor City Drum Ensemble shows his love for Detroit and Chicago on this week's RA podcast with a mix of smooth house and disco.
Danilo Plessow is a hard man to pigeonhole. Since 2003, he's been producing broken beat and jazzier material with Joachim Tobias under the Inverse Cinematics banner. Their debut full-length Passin' Through was released this year, but there's another reason why people have been talking about Plessow in 2008. He's the man that's responsible for the Motor City Drum Ensemble project, producing music which seems to encapsulate the spirit of Detroit despite being made in Stuttgart - a place that is considered Germany's own 'motor city'.
His Raw Cuts series of releases saw Plessow take a cut-and-paste approach to house music, splicing up disco and soul loops to create house tracks that managed to be retrospective and forward-thinking at the same time. He also uses the Motor City Drum Ensemble moniker to indulge his techno side, putting these records out on his and Mujaba's Four Roses imprint. Danilo's mix touches all these bases, taking us from subdued disco through to bumpin' house before going deliciously deep. He'll also be playing at RA's Christmas party at matter, so if you fancy checking Plessow's smooth grooves in the flesh, you can pick up a ticket here. We chatted with Danilo by e-mail to talk about the mix, his labels and the scene in Stuttgart.
What have you been working on recently?
I've finished remixes for Terre Thaemlitz (which is due out on Mule Musiq), Shield Records, a 12" for 20:20 Vision, and some new tracks for my own labels.
How and where was the mix recorded?
At my studio in Stuttgart. I used both vinyl mixing and modern technology to edit/loop some parts, plus an analogue hi-pass filter.
Can you tell us a little about the mix?
As I only had one afternoon to do the selection & mix, I thought I'd stick to what I know best and not experiment too much, while at the same time try to keep it interesting and show some of my influences and favourite tracks. It's a selection of classic disco, house and techno music as I would play in a club, but also listen to on my car stereo. I hope you all enjoy it!
Do you play a regular night in your hometown?
I play sometimes at friends parties, but a regular night in Stuttgart is very hard to do. I tried multiple times, but the interest in this kind of music is limited. After all, Stuttgart is a small town.
Your Raw Cuts series seems to have become quite popular amongst certain circles. Do you have any more planned?
My MCDE label will focus on this style and there's gonna be plenty more in the vein of Raw Cuts, but also some other projects and acts as well.
Is your Four Roses label exclusively for yours and Mujaba's material?
So far it's been only Mujaba and me releasing on Four Roses, but we're keeping our eyes open for new material. We have a certain taste and want to keep things special, so releases will be limited but always decent.
Frankfurt or Stuttgart might be Germany's 'motor cities', but do you feel that either of them have much in common with Detroit?
Well, obviously Stuttgart might be the complete opposite to Detroit in terms of general look and feel. Frankfurt and especially Offenbach have that post-industrial feeling, but Stuttgart is very rich, very beautiful and very posh. Because of that, however, there has always been a small art scene trying to be different. The jazz scene around Stuttgart was amazing back in the 60's and 70's. There was and still is much potential in this city.
Mike Huckaby is playing at Stuttgart's Climax-Institutes on Christmas Day. Will you be going to check him out?
Cool, I didn't know that. I've met him there the last time he played in Stuttgart, but had to leave before his set because I had to catch a plane early next day - and guess what? Exactly the same problem this year. Anyway, I'll still try to say hello at least.
What are you up to next?
What I'd really like to do next year is to find a solution for presenting MCDE Live. I want to try to not only use a computer, but also some good old Roland TRs and whatnot. It's got to be special in some way.